Grizzlies look for more home success against Wizards
The Memphis Grizzles aim to remain perfect at home on Sunday night when they host the Washington Wizards.
The Grizzles have won all three contests in front of their fans this season, including a 130-99 rout of the Charlotte Hornets on Friday that began a three-game homestand.
Dillon Brooks matched a career high with six 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in the victory. He has made 17 of 29 attempts from beyond the arc over his last five games.
“We’ve got a lot of options,” Brooks said. “There’s going to be a lot of open shots. You’ve just got to step into them and knock them down.”
Memphis did precisely that on Friday, with Desmond Bane scoring 19 points, Steven Adams contributing 13 to go along with 19 rebounds, and Santi Aldama and Ja Morant each adding 12 points.
Friday’s game represented the first time this season that all five starters for the Grizzlies reached double-digit scoring. All told, eight players reached double figures for Memphis.
While the Grizzlies were firing on all cylinders on offense, coach Taylor Jenkins made it a point to credit the team’s defense following the lopsided win. Memphis had 10 blocks and limited the Hornets to 38.4 percent shooting from the floor.
“I thought we set a tone with our defense early in that first quarter,” Jenkins said. “Gave up 24 points (in the first quarter), then 23 and 22 (in the second and third). We did a great job with our game plan execution.
“… Our team defense, our shift defense, I think we only gave up like 26 points in the paint in the first three quarters — that has to be a standard of ours. But when our defense can do that, we can get out and run and we can play with pace.”
While Memphis could hold its head up high following its Friday night performance, the same likely isn’t true for Washington. The Wizards sustained their fourth loss in five outings after surrendering 70 of the final 99 points of the game in a 128-86 shellacking by the Brooklyn Nets.
“It’s embarrassing,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after Friday’s contest. “I thought it started with our approach. Our approach was lackluster. I think we thought we could ease our way into a game where we felt they didn’t have a complete complement, roster-wise.”
Bradley Beal scored a team-high 20 points, marking the third straight game he has reached that plateau and sixth time this season.
Beal, however, entered the NBA health and safety protocol on Sunday morning and has been ruled out for the game against the Grizzlies.
“We had no competitive spirit. We didn’t play hard,” said Kyle Kuzma, who finished with 19 points. “We had a couple good runs … and it kind of just got out of hand.”
Kuzma collected 30 points and eight rebounds in Washington’s 115-95 setback in Memphis last season. Morant erupted for 34 points to help the Grizzlies avenge a 28-point defeat to the Wizards earlier in the campaign.
Washington is 4-17 in Memphis since the Grizzlies moved from Vancouver in 2001.
–Field Level Media